Project manager for a hardware/software company • Avid book club and sorority alumnae member • Blogs about pets—especially her schnauzer, Rocky.
Was the road to your relapsing multiple sclerosis (MS) a long one?
“My symptoms began at work one day in 2003, when my left leg went numb. I made a trip to the emergency room, but they found nothing. I put it off to stress, and with rest, the numbness disappeared within days. Two years later, I got a painful flare-up in my left arm and couldn't move it. This time the doctor thought it was a torn rotator cuff, but shortly after, the pain just disappeared. Another 2 years went by and, in 2008, I noticed tingling in my hands. After tests, a referral to a neurologist, and an MRI, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS.”
- Q. How did you react to your MS diagnosis?
- A. “It gave me a 'woe is me' attitude that I knew I really needed to stop. So I bought my dog—Rocky. He's a schnauzer. He's got a great, happy, positive attitude about everything we do. An attitude like that is contagious. He's motivated me to get out more, exercise, and take better care of myself. He has us out walking around the neighborhood. We walk about 2.5 miles a day.”
- Q. How has all you've gone through changed you?
- A. “Going through a hard time and finding your way out the other side makes you stronger. But I did not do it alone. I credit my family and friends for getting me through the toughest times. Knowing you have the support of people really helps.”
- Q. What attracted you to GILENYA?
- A. “NO INJECTIONS! Every morning I take my pill.* It's not a big deal. It's just a routine now. I don't have to stop what I'm doing. And I don't need to have a shot that is a reminder every day that I have relapsing MS.”
- Q. Why are you a GILENYA Guide?
- A. “I believe relapsing MS was given to me so I can spread the word. If I can't help somebody, then what good am I? That's how I look at life.”
- Q. What do you say to other people with relapsing MS?
- A. “I tell them about my own experience with this condition, like the one relapse I've had so far, and a few things I've learned along the way. I tell them not to allow themselves to wallow in their condition and what it can do. I tell them that it's up to you how you treat it. You can exercise; you can change your diet. And you need to understand that there is a relapsing MS treatment out there and it can help.”